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Rebels struggle for offense in loss to Fresno State

Bryce Hamilton and Mbacke Diong combined for 43 of UNLV’s points, while the rest of the seven players combined for only 21.

Utah State v UNLV Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

All season long, UNLV has struggled to find any consistency on offense outside of Bryce Hamilton. Against Fresno State last night, the Runnin’ Rebels could not muster enough points to hold off the Bulldogs, 67-64.

Hamilton’s 27 points kept UNLV in the game, he had help tonight from Mbacke Diong who added 16, but outside of that, the Runnin’ Rebels could not get any offensive production from anyone else.

On top of UNLV’s struggle to score and consistently make shots, Fresno State stepped up the pressure defensively. The Bulldogs applied a press to force pressure and create havoc for UNLV and eventually wore them down late in the game.

UNLV had a lead throughout the early parts of the second half. They jumped out to a 41-39 lead thanks to hitting five of its first six shots from the field. They extended its lead to as high as seven points, 46-39.

At the under four media timeout, UNLV faced its largest deficit, trailing 60-54. Hamilton provided a spark by scoring seven straight points to go up 61-60. But Fresno State answered back with a seven to nothing run of itself to get to 67 points and take the lead back to take the win.

Fresno State capitalized on hot three-point shooting in the first half to get its early lead, hitting seven of 17 in the first half. They also were able to get to the, hitting 17 of 23 free throws. UNLV on the other hand struggled to hit any three-pointers, only making three of 15 and they only got to the line 13 times, making only nine free throws.

Otzelberger said that his team had too many unnecessary fouls that allowed the Bulldogs to get to the line so many times, which gave them an overall scoring edge. Outside of the free throws and early three pointers, the Bulldogs were a pedestrian 36% from the field.

Hamilton and Diong combined for 18 of 33 shooting, 54%, while the rest of the team made eight of 25 shots, going 32% from the field.

UNLV started off the first and second halves shooting fairly well, they hit four of its first five shots in the first half and five of its first six in the second half, but they trailed off significantly the rest of the way. They only hit 34 % and 38% of its shots the rest of the way in the first and second half, respectively.

Fresno State had four scorers with at least 12 points. Isaiah Hill led the Bulldogs with 19 points and Deon Stroud had 18. Las Vegas native Orlando Robinson was nonexistent in the first half, with only one point, but he finished the game with 12, as he and Hill both played all 40 minutes for Fresno State.

UNLV and Fresno State meet up again Friday night at 8:00 p.m. The game will be on CBS Sports Network and can be heard locally on ESPN Las Vegas 1100 AM/100.9 FM.

Oh, and we cannot forget about this play: